Understanding The Bible
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
CANTICLE NUMBER 11
6:4-7:10: "A Song of the Shulamite's Superiority"
The Setting of the Song
Time: Shortly after their marriage
Occasion: A time of communion (in the presence of others)
|HISTORICAL SETTING||SPIRITUAL APPLICATION|
6:4-7 Solomon's praise
of her breathtaking loveliness.
His praise of her breathtaking loveliness! Just as there is something majestically thrilling about a marching army, with banners bravely fluttering overhead, so she causes him to catch his breath and thrills him.
Tirzah: "This later was to become the place of the palace of the kings of Israel (1 Ki. 15:33), just as Jerusalem was the capital city of the kings of Judah." (Read "terrible" as "Awe-inspiring.")
To think that we could mean anything like this to
Him! And yet, He loves us so ... and we do! So ---
"Fling wide the banner of the cross!"
6:8-9a Solomon tells of
her superior beauty.
He continues to emphasize her unique superiority over the other queens, closing with the words "... choice one of her that bare her." (Their comparatively small number, 140, points to an early part of his reign before state marriages and pretentious pride expanded the number to 1000.)
|Among God's redeemed of all ages, the Bride of Christ has (by His grace) a unique place of superiority (Eph. 2:6-7; 3:10-11).|
6:9b-10 He quotes the other queens' warm
praise of her ("The daughters ... army with banners").
He therefore quotes the other queens' warm praise of her. (Write in the word "saying" at the end of v. 9.) They are careful to include his compliment of v. 4.
|Is Matthew 5:16 (with 2 Cor. 3:2-3; 1 Pet. 3:16) true of you?|
|6:11 The embarrassed Shulamite slips out into an adjoining garden.||We may well retreat to a quiet place for meditation and prayer, when the personal element in praise gets too strong for our good. As Christian workers you will often find this necessary.|
6:12 At Solomon's
signal, courtiers lift her into a palanquin and carry her along.
But Solomon quickly and quietly follows and before she realizes what they are doing, at a signal from Solomon, some of the courtiers and guards swoop her up into a palanquin, along with Solomon, and happily carry them (at Solomon's command) toward another part of the palace. She now thrills to realize that she is fully received by the men as their Queen, and that they are "her willing people." (The end of v. 12 should read "my (heart) desire set me upon the chariots (palanquins) of my willing people.")
|Do others recognize us as Queen -- the Bride of a Heavenly King? Do we carry ourselves with poise and winsome ways?|
6:13a The women of the
court cry out "Return ... return."
Meanwhile, the Ladies-in-waiting have followed and arrive just as the courtiers and guars are carrying the Queen away with Solomon, and cry out, "Return ... look upon thee." (6:13 is 7:1 in the Hebrew Bible.)
|Is our beauty of Christian character attractive and does it draw others?|
6:13b The amazed
"What will ye see in the Shulamite? What can you see in me, when the altogether lovely one is here?"
|Often, we shall feel like saying: "How can you even see me, when HE is here?"|
6:13c The women answer.
In reply to her question, they compliment her: "You are something very lovely and beautiful that captivates the eye like the symmetry and grace of the dance of two companies" (at the same time).
|See 13a comment.|
[HERE THE PALANQUIN HALTS AT SOLOMON'S COMMAND]
7:1-5 The women of the
court describe the Shulamite's beauty.
This section is their elaboration of their reply in 6:13c (Verse 5c would seem to indicate that someone other than the king speaks vv. 1-5.)
"Oh prince's daughter," v. 1.
(On this description read again the quotation from Neil's Palestine Explored under 4:1-7 (Canticle 8), page 53.)
|Just as protruding teeth, or crossed eyes would mar the symmetry which makes a girl beautiful, so do irregularities in our walk and talk as Christians. Is there an unevenness, or lack of well-roundedness about us? Are we "balanced" believers?|
7:6-9a The Bridegroom interrupts them with his
own praise of her.
("How fair ... like the best wine!")
The Palanquin starts again.
|Oh, to please Him, to be His delight! Is anything in life ore important?|
7:9b The Bride interrupts the Bridegroom
("for my beloved ... desire is toward me")
She interrupts after the words "best wine," with the words "for my beloved." She says in essence: "If I am delightful and refreshing, then I am yours to enjoy!"
|"I am all Thine own, Lord. 'Take my heart and let it be, Consecrated, Lord, to Thee!"|
|7:10 If this is included in this canticle, as it very likely is, it is her joyous realization that he completely fills her horizon and that he finds full satisfaction in her.||
There is a spiritual progression reaching a
climax in this verse. In 2:16 we have the emphasis of the
new believer -- he possesses Christ: "My Beloved
is mine! I possess Him!" In 6:3 we see the result of growth in
grace with the emphasis on our surrender to Christ: "I a my
Beloved's. Oh, He's still mine, but His love has won my all"
(Rom. 12:1-2). Finally, in 7:10 we reach a climax.
"I am my Beloved's, and His desire is toward me." He delights in me because I find my delight in Him! Oh, the satisfaction in knowing He is please with me!
200 Manor Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047
United States of America
|"Mason's Notes" Study materials on this website are made available here free, through the generosity of Cairn University, and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them. No further distribution or use of these materials is allowable under U.S. or International Copyright Law without the express permission of Cairn University.|